I took 3 years of koine (Biblical) greek in college and am aware of the textual variants in the texts of the New Testament. And while the author is upfront about his bias and purpose in writing the book, he glosses over some significant points.
1. Counting textual variants. A textual variant is counted for every manuscript, even if that manuscript is a known copy. So once a scribe made a mistake, every copy of the document is counted as a textual variant even when it is a part of the same family of texts.
2. Many of the textual variants cited do not exist in the Bible today, but the author presents them as though these are widely distributed texts. A small number of these variants appeared in certain areas, but the widely accepted text that has been passed down is generally the same.
3. The author presents the pseudoprigrapha texts (Gosepl of Thomas, etc.) as equally valid as the 4 accepted Gospels of the New Testament. However, these texts were never accepted by the majority of the early church and were not viewed as credible in their own time. But the author paints the picture of a broad conspiracy of proto-orthodox believers to exclude these texts, without regard for their content or historical context.
There are a number of issues that the author and I agree on, this was an enjoyable read, for the $5 I paid during an audible sale.
When you think of radical, fundamentalist terrorists I know what comes to mind...the most technologically and well trained military and scientific force in the universe...no? Oops, because that's the basic premise behind Brainrush.
1. The premise is great. A freak accident gives the hero a super-brain.
2. The first scene in which the protagonist uses his newly acquired awareness and eidetic memory. Very well written, witty, and simply fantastic.
1. Everything after the first scene in which the protagonist uses his newly acquired powers.
2. The protagonist's powers quickly expand to telepathy and telekinesis, and the author seems to forget about the protagonist's memory and awareness advantages, because they cease to play an important part of the story.
3. The absolute cluelessness of world governments and the military
4. The inclusion of alien artifacts
I'm not sure if I enjoyed Hard Rain.
I was hoping that John Rain's half-American, half-Japanese heritage would play more deeply into the story as well as provide interesting internal commentary. Sadly, his upbringing is only part of his back-story and doesn't greatly impact the story that is being told. The plot of the book has some international aspects, but all of the major developments occur within Japan, so there is no outlet for Rain's parentage to impact events.
John Rain is an ethical assassin, but he is not a moral hero. This makes Rain an interesting anti-hero. He is able to kill quickly, without the mercy or compassion that might dissuade other assassin heroes. He can and kill anyone he perceives as a threat even when he has no evidence that they are a threat. He can also kill wounded and disabled enemies whereas other heroes of the genre might show restraint.
Other parts of the story are pure convention, including a right-out-of-the-movies love scene that felt rushed and unnecessary. But Rain's commentary and the conflict kept the story moving and engaging.
Overall, I'm not sure what to think of Hard Rain. It didn't chase me off of the series, I plan to continue listening to the John Rain books because I like the character enough that I am curious about what happens to him. There is certainly enough there to keep me interested, I just hope that the future stories are as engaging as the character.
I like Peter F Hamilton's books. So I don't mind when he begins a story in one book and finishes it with a third book. Some people like for a book to have a definitive conclusion. Just be prepared when this book leaves you at a cliffhanger.
This series is definitely worth the investment. It had the same cool technology, alien races, spaceships, and accompanying technobabble that I greatly enjoy. Some of my favorite characters were absent, and others reappeared in ways that I wasn't happy with, but it never made me dislike the overall story that is being told.
This book concludes the story from Pandora's Star. So read that one first. The assumption of Judas Unchained is that you know what happened, especially since the first book leaves some of the protagonists at cliffhangers.
The Void Trilogy from the same author is set in the same universe, and has some of the same characters, but this book with Pandora's Star is its own space opera. I mention this because I have criticized other series that, while set in the same universe, do not need to be read in chronological order.
If you like books that describe the technology and science of the fictional universe, as I do, then you will enjoy this book. It has spaceships, cool sci-fi technology and interesting alien races. Best of all it stays away from science fantasy conventions.
The characters are not your typical sci-fi heroes, no space marines, super secret spies, or genetically created killing machines. Just very relatable people who attempt to solve their problems in logically consistent ways.
This book is very slow, but it pays off with an exciting and satisfying ending.
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